Immature petty squabbling aside, UKIP are back to doing what they do best this afternoon. Following this morning’s revelation that 155,000 people were criminalised last year for not paying the licence fee, the party is pushing its proposal in the Lords that the telly tax moves from a criminal to a civil jurisdiction. Which would be a start…
The glee with which the Tories and Labour jump on any sign of UKIP discord is more flattering than anything, nonetheless it hasn’t been the smoothest week for the party. First their chief executive Will Gilpin threw his toys out of the pram and quit, dismissing members as “a bunch of enthusiastic amateurs”. Which is part of the charm, but still. Then Godfrey Bloom was at it again, informing us how “most women can find the mustard in the pantry quicker than a man and most men can reverse a car better than a woman”. His wider points about quotas and political correctness may have some merit, though the joke is wearing thin.
Cue Nigel Farage putting his foot down. He tells the Telegraph things are going to change:
“The party does need professional management but thus far we haven’t found the person to deliver it. I gave up all managerial control of the party in 2010, I gave it up to a new group of people and at the moment we haven’t got to where we need to and so therefore…I will now be once again taking back some direct managerial control of the party until I’m confident we’ve got the right people in place. I will have to do less politics, fewer interviews, fewer public meetings, fewer appearances and I will have to spend more time directly overseeing the jobs being done, because the problem we have had is one of non-delivery… We do need to get a grip on things. We do need to professionalise things and so I’m going to have to take a much more direct, managerial role.”
Which is probably a good thing…
It looks like Nigel Farage is really going to enjoy his time at Tory Conference, making it as awkward for the Conservatives as possible. An invitation lands in Guido’s hands for “Pint and Fag” with the UKIP leader, just outside the conference zone. Despite the obvious ban on Farage coming into the lock-down zone in Manchester, Guido suspects he will pull by far the biggest fringe crowd. The event is appropriately at the comedy story, but some won’t be laughing….
So UKIP now have a Welsh website. And they claim their name in Welsh is “Plaid Annibyniaeth y Du”. Now if that was DU, not Du, it would be the abbreviation of the UK in Welsh (Y Deyrnas Unedig). As it is, Du translates as the “Black Independence Party”:
A pretty big rebranding….
Enterprising “humble music shop” Rainbow Music “in the bonny city of Dundee” have sent Godfrey Bloom a brace of bongos:
“It was to our surprise and bemusement that you wanted to cut foreign aid to Bongo Bongo Land, as we were not sure as to the specific geographical location of such a place and we thought you were referring to the places where Bongos’ are made and played. We were unaware that we were eligible for foreign aid it has made us further confused. As an MEP you must be well informed of such foreign aid and would appreciate it if you could point us in the direction of any money that is coming our way. In appreciation we are giving you a pair of the finest Cuban, Bongo drums which you can have a good session with. The bongos are a great way for a politician to unwind after a hard day of representing the people, particularly as you sounded rather angry and stressed out on the wireless this morning. “
Via Paul Waugh
The Coalition agreement states that “Lords appointments will be made with the objective of creating a second chamber that is reflective of the share of the vote secured by the political parties in the last general election.” In 2010 UKIP got 919,546 votes or 3.1%. while the Greens got 285,616 votes or 1%. So despite them getting three times the vote share of the Greens, cowardly Cameron has ducked enobling a new UKIP peer. Their spokesman tells Guido:
“This is the establishment rewarding the establishment for being the establishment.”
The LibDems get a disproportionate amount of Peers and Cameron looks frit.
Labour and the Tories are neck and neck with UKIP trailing off in this morning’s ICM poll for the Guardian. Though as Mike Smithson explains ICM was the pollster most out with UKIP at the 2009 Euros, where it undershot their result by 6.5% and had them in fourth place when they came second. Also worth taking into account that at the weekend Survation had UKIP on 20%, Opinium on 19% and ComRes on 18%. Still, who knew union bashing and welfare reform was so popular?
One point behind the Tories. Interesting to see how today’s vote affects that…
The public don’t yet trust Boris to be PM, so says some pretty comprehensive polling released by Lord Ashcroft this morning. Only just over a third said he was capable of the running the country, while Tory voters overwhelmingly backed Dave. The UKIP results are arguably the most interesting. 35% of UKIP voters saying they would consider voting Tory if Boris were leader. Tory backbenchers must be wondering just how many would come home…
Nigel Farage has admitted he set up an offshore Isle of Man trust fund in 2003 for tax reasons. His accountants tell the Mirror he made no money from it though:
“It was a mistake for three reasons. Firstly, I’m not rich enough to need one and I am never going to be. Secondly, frankly, the world has changed. Things that we thought were absolutely fair practice 10 years, 20 years ago, 30 years ago aren’t any more. Thirdly, it was a mistake because it cost me money. I sent a cheque off to set it up.”
Though you can hardly say UKIP are in favour of anything other than lower tax bills, it’s tricky given Farage criticised the Isle of Man in particular in the EU parliament recently. He’s feeling the heat this morning. Welcome to big boys’ club…
UPDATE: Farage did have a go at the EU’s tax free salaries recently, though he defended the legality of tax havens and blamed high taxes for the need for tax havens. Not so hypocritical…
UKIP’s efforts to do battle online are clearly paying off. According to analysis done by UK General Election 2015, the party is gaining Twitter followers and Facebook likes at a considerably greater rate than its opponents, with the Tories in particular falling way short. By way of comparison, over the same period @GuidoFawkes gained some 7,000 followers and now has 109,745 followers – more than any UK political party. Social media campaigning will have a big part to play over the next two years, so these stats make interesting reading…
UKIP are looking at enlisting the services of a team of private specialists to vet their candidates for the 2014 European elections. The party plans to work alongside a specialist company so hundreds of hopefuls undergo a “rigorous psycho-analytic screening” programme to root out pot plant impersonators and keyboard warriors. Obviously looking to avoid a repeat of lurid newspaper headlines about the small number of racist and homophobic candidates that got through their vetting procedure for last month’s locals. Seems a sensible idea to Guido, UKIP are expected to top the bill in 2014 so it makes sense not to take any chances. Fruitcakes and loonies need no longer apply…
The least surprising news of the week.
One Labour and the Tories are jumping on with glee this morning: a newly elected UKIP councillor is in court up on benefit fraud charges. Peter Lagoda won in Cambridgeshire earlier this month, now he is accused of failing to tell his council about changes to his circumstances that would have affected what he received in benefits.[…] Read the rest
UKIP’s 15 councillors in Norfolk have gone into coalition with Labour and the Liberal Democrats in order to shaft the 40 strong Conservative block remaining after the recent upset. While there may be no love lost on the ground after UKIP cost the Tories overall control of the council, in the long run this could work well for Tories nationally.[…] Read the rest
UKIP economic spokesman Godfrey Bloom has gone after Margaret Hodge, demanding that HMRC “investigate unanswered questions from C4 News, Sky News and Guido Fawkes about her ‘knowledge’ of the tax affairs of her family trust”:
[…] Read the rest
“It beggars belief that Hodge stated that her family company paid ‘every penny’ of the tax it owed although later she admitted that did not know how much tax it actually paid.
Rotherham council’s decision to remove three children from a foster couple because they supported UKIP sparked huge levels of anger among the readers of this blog, and elsewhere. Today, seven months on, the council has admitted that the woman at the centre of the scandal, Common Purpose graduate Joyce Thacker, was wrong to say it was their membership of UKIP that saw the children taken away:
[…] Read the rest
“The council can confirm that membership of Ukip would not prevent any individual from being considered as a foster carer in Rotherham and could not be a reason for removing foster children from a placement.
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“I’m sensing similar hatred from this line of questioning as I got on the streets yesterday… [Question: Remind me how many elected representatives you have in Scotland?] Absolutely none, but rather more than the BBC do.